LEXINGTON, MA–Through another year of the pandemic, the Class of 2021 of Shishu Bharati prevailed and proudly celebrated the 34th virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday morning of June 13th. The event started with the Indian and American National Anthems, performed by Shishu Bharati’s proud Choir.
First, principals from all three locations: Renu Tiwarie (Walpole), Jay Pandit (Nashua, NH), and Sulochana Devadas (Lexington) congratulated their proud students for their commitment, hard work, and success in meeting all the requirements despite the unprecedented times.
Seshi Sompuram, the President of Shishu Bharati, then joined the principals in thanking all the teachers, volunteers, administration, and the parents for their dedication, relentless hard work, and compassion to make this special day possible.
Congratulating the class of 2021, Sompuram emphasized that they are the ambassadors of Indian heritage and reminded them that the knowledge and experience they gained at Shishu Bharati has made them confident in appreciating the values, norms and greatness of both cultures.
Both the president and the principals have urged the graduating class to join the dedicated “Alumni Student Volunteers”, to give back and be part of Shishu Bharati’s “Volunteers at Best” tradition.
Nilesh Nilkanth Oak, the key note speaker, addressed the graduating class with a confession. The confession he explained that, when he was young, he really didn’t see neither any value nor a point in activities or learning beyond the school curriculum, that his parents always engaged him in. But, only to realize the value and the wisdom that he cherished in his later life. He assured them that the Shishu Bharati experience will certainly give them a comprehensive understanding of our very ancient (e.g., Vedas, over 21,000-25,000 years old) and vast Indian culture and will have a lasting impact in navigating their lives.
Oak advocated the “Triangle” of moral fabric; Sraddha (conviction), Samasya (doubt of an intellect), and Jignasa (curiosity). He explained, how inculcating and experiencing the combination of the deadly-trio, would be a powerful asset and great wisdom.
Oak, a chemical engineer by profession but also an author, researcher, and speaker, wrote extensively on the in-depth understanding of antiquities of Indian culture, backed by scientific acumen.
Then, Nithya Raman, the Class of 1996, a proud Shishu Bharati Alumni Speaker inspired the crowd about how Shishu Bharati impacted and laid the foundation for who she is today.
She is a Los Angeles District-4 City Councilor, winning the well fought very contentious election, which she is very proud of. Now, she proudly represents and fights for a quarter million people in LA. Raman fondly recalls and thanks Shishu Bharati for the education, understanding and the experience of Indian culture, community, volunteerism, and the connections.
This was a stepping stone and truly inspired her to go to India and work as an urban planner along with nonprofits, working and fighting for slum dwellers in Mumbai. She affirms that this is the turning point in her life, and decided to be a public servant.
Raman brought everyone’s attention to a painting she saw recently in LA, captioned as “Permanent Visitors”, encompassing the life of an immigrant or immigrant family. She emphasizes that though some are born in the US, because of color and heritage some people always have to negotiate their position. Finally, Raman congratulated the students on being proud Shishu Bharati graduates.
She urged the class of 2021 to draw the strength from Shishu Bharati and the community to negotiate their role and success.
After the speeches, the graduating students had an opportunity to express themselves and speak about their teachers, learning, great friends, and their time and experiences at Shishu Bharati. The 8th grade teachers lead this session and Nilesh Agarwal assisted with the virtual presentation.
Finally, the ceremony was concluded by Mohan Kumar (Secretary), who thanked all the teachers, volunteers, students and graduation event organizers.
Shishu Bharati, a 43-year-old school serving the New England area has completed another chapter with this wonderful graduation ceremony.